“During the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council, we must take four important steps on Brexit, which is why we strongly rely on you to keep up the common European position in the negotiations,” the European Commission’s Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier told the Deputy Prime Minister for Judicial Reform and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva.
These steps are drawing up directives for the negotiations on the transition period, preparing a draft treaty on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, mandating the Commission to negotiate with London on the transition period, and arriving at a common position on the EU’s future relations with Britain.
“You can count on us. We are here to help,” Minister Zaharieva replied, stressing the importance of the matter for Bulgaria, over 100,000 of whose citizens live and work in the United Kingdom.
The two agreed that the negotiations conducted by the Commission must be backed by solid consensus from the 27 EU Member States, based on trust in the Chief Negotiator.
Minister Zaharieva detailed her guest about the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency and specifically about Bulgaria’s views regarding the European perspective for the Western Balkans.
“If the European Union ignores this region, it will be dominated by other powers that will destabilise it. It will cost us a lot more to fight this than to develop specific projects there now,” she emphasised. “Such projects may concern not only the connectivity of the six countries between them and with the EU, but above all their young people. The governments and the people in those countries are indeed motivated to carry out reforms, let us not frustrate this aspiration,” Minister Zaharieva urged.